Essay on Jane Austen's Middle-class Female

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Jane Austen's Middle-Class Female

Jane Austin insightfully portrays the class mentalities of the middle and upper classes during the early nineteenth century in her novel Pride and Prejudice. Society then was overly preoccupied with the distinction of classes, and with these shameless distinctions there existed an obvious hierarchy that governed people's behavior and obligations to their respective societies. Austen's story focuses on Elizabeth Bennet and her family, who are well-to-do members of middle-class society in England. Throughout the novel, the Bennets maintain social contact with their fellows of the middle-class as well as with upper-class characters; and as vanity, love, and gossip permeate the story's development,
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A prime example of this haughty vanity is found in the Bingley sisters, who despise the Bennets and waste no effort attempting to conceal this fact. Their prejudiced behavior becomes especially evident during Elizabeth's visit to Netherfield, where Jane is laid up sick. With no other alternative, Elizabeth had chosen to walk the three mile journey in her haste to see her sister. Miss Bingley later remarks to her own sister, "I could hardly keep my countenance. Very nonsensical to come at all! Why must she be scampering about the country, because her sister had a cold? Her hair so untidy, so blowsy!" (36). Unfortunately, many of the other middle-class women in the book, especially Mrs. Bennet, share this deep regard for the superiority of the higher class. However, if many of the middle-class character do show submission and lower taste, this notion is starkly contrasted by Miss Bingley's senselessness in her fawning behavior toward Darcy. In her efforts to gain his favor and disincline him to Elizabeth, she actually accomplishes the very opposite. Mr. Darcy, a man of impeccable refinement, is turned off by her pushy pestering, and her snide, verbal challenges to Elizabeth serve to display the latter's sensibility and her indifference to petty quarrels. For instance, while the three briefly occupy the same room, Miss Bingley attempts to provoke Elizabeth, cuttingly saying, "Miss Eliza Bennet despises cards. She is a great
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